His was a shrill, faint voice; but former Governor Peter Obi left us with several points to ponder last week
There were startling revelations. This will be my fifth Youtube view of Obi's presentation. With each view, I get even more dazed, benumbed and bedraggled; my mind, a fuzzy mass of dampened emotions.
How did we get here?
It's difficult to know where to begin in this moment of sober reflection. Do we begin from Obi's declaration that State Governors fly with as many as 30 persons to Abuja for a meeting where only the Governor's presence is required? Do we begin from the fact that tax payers fuel more than 22 cars assigned to the Governor at N30m monthly?
Do we curse our luck after learning that the Nigerian President is entitled to a lodge in each State of the federation even though he isn't likely to visit a fraction of those States before his time in office is up? Or that each State Governor is entitled to a lodge in Abuja? Do we bemoan our luck after learning that these lodges are being maintained at taxpayer expense as you read this?
How do you explain that a Governor is due a feast each day back in his lodge; even though he can eat only so much? What happens to the rest of a whole cow slaughtered for a Governor each day? Why must there be a party at the Governor's residence everyday? Why must there be a feast at Governor's house everyday? Why should State Governors ride in so many bulletproof cars all at once? Why will a State Governor need that many bulletproof cars any way?
"There's so much waste in our system and we all tolerate it", Obi said at one point to a collective groan from the audience. It should have been a rallying cry for action.
It was a sorry spectacle to watch and listen to, but that was our reality rolling off the tongue of a man who's been there and done that.
You don't have to agree with Obi's politics to agree he was painting the correct picture of a wasteful Nigerian State--his shrill, effeminate voice, piercing through and resonating with the audience.
Here's a country where Senators and House of Representative members head home with more than N10m monthly; aside other humongous allowances often shrouded in secrecy.
Here's a country where the political class is fed fat while we all groan under the crushing weight of an economic depression. Nigeria's has got to be the most expensive, senseless democracy in the world!
Here's a nation where the political class indulges in fits of bacchanal revelry with more than 80 percent of the population living in abject poverty. Here's a nation where there's endless feasting, wining, dining and haughty laughter at government quarters; a few meters away from the sorry sight of malnourished beggars wielding bowls of penury.
If Peter Obi taught us one thing last week, it is that our democratic structure is a joke and the entire system should be completely razed down and then rebuilt--this time more sensibly.
It's time to have a conversation around why we need 109 Senators and 360 House of Reps members; and why we have to clothe, feed, drive them around town and fly them around the world; even when all they do in Abuja is fight themselves over padded budgets.
It's time to slam the feet on the brakes. We've failed as a country. It's time to tear down this wall and rebuild. They call it restructuring these days, but it doesn't matter what name it goes by as long as it's brought down.
Former Governor Peter Obi made inroads into our minds last week. It's time to draw the lessons from his sermon and rethink the entire concept of Nigeria. We can't continue like this, surely.
Time is fast running out.